How do Search Engines work? The Beginner’s Guide

How do Search Engines work? The Beginner’s Guide

Do you know how many search queries you enter every day? Ten?Twenty?OR more??

And each time, a list of relevant results is shown in your search page in just a blink of an eye. Right?

And like magic, Search Engines Work to fulfill your need.

Search engines work


Billions of search queries are entered on the web every day related to thousands of different topics in different formats. And these queries are answered with the help of a search engine.

Search Engines are the automated systems that analyze millions of information on the web and deliver information most likely to satisfy users’ queries.

Search Engines work to provide you with the most relevant content in different possible formats available like image, text, webpage, videos, etc. in a fast and easy way.

In this guide, we will learn about search engines and how they work, and we will learn why we should care about search engines to be successful in this digitalized world.

How do Search Engines work?

There are different types of search engines. Some of the famous and most used are Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.

However, The basic principle behind the work of Search Engines are Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking.

 search bar

The search engine uses its Crawler or searching bot to search the website.

The information and data are indexed in a database and ranked those data based on its appropriateness, relevancy with the help of a search engine ranking algorithm.

The ranked data are then passed to users’ through the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Understanding how search engines work would help marketers to better optimize, modify, and put valuable content so that they can rank their webpage in the SERP.

What is Search Engine Crawling?

Search Engine crawling is a mechanism in which fully automated bots known as crawlers are used to scour the pages and find relevant information for indexing.

Search engine Crawling

Like a spider, these crawlers are constantly moving to each corner of the Web.  Searching, updating( if new information is found), and downloading information that needs to be indexed.

These web crawlers’ work is based on some guidelines and visits links from already known pages to find additional links and pages.

How can you make your page visible by the crawler?

If your pages cannot be seen or crawled by the search engine crawlers, then there is no chance of appearing on the result page.

Hence first, you need to make sure your page does exist and provide an appropriate signal to the search engines to crawl your page.

You can help crawler gain accessibility by implementing the following factors:

Use the robot.txt file to give clear guidance to search engines on which page you want to crawl and which you don’t.

Clear Site hierarchy: Having a logical site architecture that flows throughout your webpage will help crawlers move through your site more quickly.

Use links: As search engines find pages through links, use internal and external links that would help crawlers find your page and index it.

Use XML Sitemap to list all your important pages so that crawlers can know which site to monitor and crawl.

What is Indexing?

Search engine Indexing

After the crawler finds your page, the next step for the search engines is to store, organize, and manage the information.

This process of storing and organizing web pages is called indexing.

Search engines work by storing information like keywords, images, contents, from webpages into a large database called INDEX.

It is like the big digital library which contains hundreds and billions of web pages.

How to find if your site is being indexed?

Just because our pages are crawled by search engines, it’s not done. We need to make sure they are indexed properly so they could be ranked in the User’s Search Engine Result Page(SERP).

To make sure your site is being crawled and index properly you can use the following  ways:

One way to check your indexed page is through a Search operator. For this go to Google and type “site:yourdomain.com” on the search bar. This will return results on how many Web pages are indexed by google on that particular domain.

This will give you an idea of how pages are indexed in your site and how they are appearing in the search results.

The other way is to use Google Search Console. In the google search console, Create an account and submit your website and through the Index coverage report, you can monitor your sites.

How search engine works GSC indexing

Search Engine Ranking:

Search Engines Ranking

The final step search engines work through is sorting out from the indexed information and providing relevant and right results to fulfill the query of users.

Search engines use a set of Search Algorithms to assist them in the ranking system.

Search engines rank the pages and information based on different factors that would best help satisfy users’ queries and provide a better search experience to them.

How does the Search Engine Algorithm Works?

These Search algorithms main function is to supply you with the most useful and relevant information in only a fraction of seconds.

That’s why the algorithms are always upgrading and evolving.

To make the user experience easy, and help search engines work better, various modifications and changes are made to the algorithm and different experiments are done every day.

There are different factors that search engine algorithms use to rank the pages in the Search engine result page(SERP).

Some of the factors that are analyzed are:

  • Meaning of Query
  • The relevance of Web Pages
  • Quality of Content Available
  • Date of Publication or Freshness of content
  • Popularity of page
  • Context and settings.

Hence, analyzing these factors you should try to optimize your page to rank on the SERP.

What happens when a search is Performed?

When a search is performed in the Search Query, the Search engines work by going through the three-step process of Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking as described below.

Search Result for Blue Dress

First, when you type a query like Blue dress on a search engine lets say Google, the search engine first tries to analyze the intent of your search.

To find the intent Search engine analyzes the keywords, intent like the purchase or buy, freshness of the query, etc.

After that, the pages which seem relevant are extracted from the index to match your specific query.

Different factors like topic relevance, quality content, site quality, language, page popularity, etc help search engines to decide which page is relevant.

Finally based on the relevance and usefulness search engine algorithm, hierarchically rank your results in your SERP and you see the most relevant content for your query.

This result may differ due to different factors like location, search history, search setting, etc

Ranking on how search engine works

There are more than 30 Web Search Engines like: Google, Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, etc.

If your webpage is ranked no.1 in google, it doesn’t mean that you will rank top in Bing.

Mainly because each Search Engines work according to their principles and guidelines to rank the web pages through their algorithm.

NOTE: Not all search engines will show the same relevant result and not all pages are ranked equally through the different search engines.

However, as Google is the widely used search engine and the majority of web searches are performed through Google, Knowing how Google search engine works would help us to optimize our site and reach a larger audience.

Why do we need to know how search Engines work?

Getting to know how a Search Engines work will help you to optimize your page and make it easy for search engines to crawl and index your web pages so that it could rank higher in the SERP.

Search engine drives business growth

However, being indexed and crawled does not always ensure that you will be at the top of SERP.

To rank your website higher in Google we use different Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques which helps to drive traffic to your site and provide benefits to visitors.

Hence, knowing how different Search engines work will allow you to create content, use relevant keywords, and use different techniques that not only are focused on search engine algorithms but provide value to the audiences.

Final Thoughts

Search Engines

Search engines work by the action of crawling, indexing, and ranking to help people find information by delivering the most reliable and relevant information. 

Having a basic idea of how search engines work will allow you to create websites that convey positive signals to search engines to crawl, index, and hence rank your sites in the SERP and move your business to the path of success.

However, in-order to reap long term success try to focus on creating relevant, and credible content for the right keyword that would generate a value-based user Experience.

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